RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Sure, it's the Christmas season. But for many people, it's bowl season, which means college football is wrapping up. And individual players who might get drafted by the NFL are starting to get a lot of attention. From member station WKYU, Joe Corcoran reports on a quarterback who's been rated the number-one passer in college football the last two seasons and has been called the game's greatest secret.
JOE CORCORAN, BYLINE: At 6' 3" and 220 pounds, Western Kentucky University quarterback Brandon Doughty isn't the typical muscle-bound football player. He looks almost gangly on the field. But when his right arm snaps back to pass...
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UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER: And Doughty looking for a home run ball. Going down the middle. Perfect pass, an incredible diving fingertip grab by Taylor in the end zone. Holy moly, what a pass and catch.
CORCORAN: He's one of a few quarterbacks in college football's top division to pass for 12,000 yards and 100 touchdowns in his career. He's thrown a touchdown in 27 straight games. That's the longest current streak in the country. He's had a season most players can only dream about, an 11 and 2 record, a Conference USA championship, a number 25 ranking in the AP poll and talked about as an NFL draft pick.
BRANDON DOUGHTY: Yeah, that's what I hear. That's the dream when I was a kid. When I was a little kid playing in the backyard, I was Dan Marino.
CORCORAN: It was a long, confusing chain of events that got the player his teammates call Grandpa Doughty from that backyard in Davie, Fla. to WKU. He was recruited out of high school by Western's head coach at the time, who has since left and now leads the South Florida team that Doughty will face in Monday's Miami Beach Bowl. Doughty was also heavily recruited back then to go to a different school by the man who is his current coach now, Jeff Brohm.
JEFF BROHM: I don't think you can find a more quality human being than Brandon. And I think he's a man of great integrity, high character. He's somebody that you would definitely have babysit your kids and somebody that you'd want in the family.
DOUGHTY: There's millions of people in this business. There's thousands of coaches in this business. And five years later, he's my head coach, you know. It's unbelievable how the Lord works like that.
CORCORAN: Doughty talks about God a lot and thinks about him even more.
DOUGHTY: I try to put God first. I know what got me here. I feel like the Lord's really, like, putting out a sheet of paper or, like, a towel and saying, Brandon, just follow this with my journey here.
CORCORAN: His faith's been put to the test more than once, especially a few years ago. Doughty's a sixth-year senior because he lost back-to-back seasons due to knee industries. But he even found some good out of that.
DOUGHTY: It was maybe one of the lower points of my life. As I was rehabbing, I met my future wife. She tore her ACL two weeks before I did. And God says - is your worst time, I found the best blessing that could ever happen to me.
CORCORAN: Brandon Doughty wears those lessons for all to see. His left forearm is covered with tattoos, orange-leafed flowers and praying hands for the grandpa who raised him, a colon cancer support ribbon for his mom, a missing puzzle piece on his elbow for autism support for his cousin. Doughty says one accomplishment means the most to him, his team voting him captain three years in a row. That's why he wants to start some churches after his football life is over. He says it's an opportunity to continue leading. For NPR News, I'm Joe Corcoran in Bowling Green, Ky. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.